Macro Food

Our plan to eat at 15East (as recommended by my cousin) failed because of the long delay on our flight into New York. Our first meal was sushi take out (yay for technology!) delivered to our hotel because we were famished and tired.

Scroll to the very bottom for restaurant information.

We had lots of delicious food in New York, so much so that we didn't really get to try street food like we intended. Not all the food had pictures taken, either because of lighting or I was too preoccupied with eating. (Or I didn't want to pull out my camera and take food pictures at my first meal with someone.)

Our first proper meal was brunch at Colicchio & Sons as chosen by my cousin, the expert foodie. They had some delicious buns with chorizo butter. Yes, the butter had chunks of sausage in it. (The only way butter could possibly be better.) We had some pizza as appetizers and our entire table ended up ordering for entrée either soft-shelled crab or pan fried skate. Everything was delicious.

Thankfully my cousin understands my need to document everything for posterity. Everyone else just put up with my food photo taking.

My new camera lens, as you can see, is amazing for taking food porn. I still haven't quite gotten the hang of focusing with it though.

For dinner we went to Quality Meats, my cousin's favourite steak restaurant in New York. No pictures of the deliciously huge porterhouse steak because lighting was near non-existent inside. They make their own steak sauce right in front of you, with a little mortar and pestle.

The next day's lunch was at Les Halles in the financial district, chosen solely for its association at one time with Anthony Bourdain. The deviled eggs above are the best I have ever eaten. Deliciously creamy. We had some decidedly French food: duck confit and moules-frites. The salad with the duck confit had little bits of fried potatoes in it and the most delicious vinaigrette ever.

We had a light dinner of croissant sandwiches that night at Le Pain Quotidien's Central Park location. We were both I think still digesting the steak from the earlier night.

The next day we met my boyfriend's extended family for brunch and dinner. Brunch was at Le Philosophe, a cute little French with very delicious food. They had an appetizer of fresh small radishes with coarse sea salt and Dijon mustard butter that was amazing. It looked a little strange at first but tasted superbly fresh and tangy. I ate a croque madame because I felt hungry (didn't end up finishing it though, because as it turned out I wasn't that hungry) and wanted to eat something with an egg.

Dinner was at Ninja New York. The theme appeared to be as much fire and dry ice, as the theatrical stereotype of ninjas. The steak was really good, the sushi was really good, the edamame came with blue led lights and dry ice, and there's a cocktail which comes with a rubber shuriken. Also magic tricks. At some point I stopped taking pictures because I had to concentrate on finishing the ungodly amount of food.

15East (

We didn't actually eat here, but I thought I'd include it anyways because it came highly recommended by my cousin. Pricy but to be expected for a fancy Japanese restaurant with a Michelin Star located in New York. According to my cousin, the thing to do is to phone in and reserve a spot at the counter for omakase. Online says omakase is $140 per person.

Colicchio & Sons (

Nice chic restaurant with the sort of renovated factory look that's popular nowadays. Although it New York it's more likely because there's simply a lot of very old buildings. The food is excellent and decently priced, about $25 average for a lunch entrée. The décor is nice, service is good, and food is a good mix of bar-food style staples with a twist. So pizza with bacon, but also with peas and béchamel sauce. Pan fried fish, except it's skate. It's also located next to one of the entrances to Chelsea Market which makes it easy to work into your tourist plan.

Quality Meats (

Fancy restaurant with a delicious dry aged porterhouse steak and lots of side choices. Around $50 per person for steak but it is a lot of food. Their porterhouse is recommended for two but could easily feed three. They have a great selection of a modern fusion take on the classic steak sides. Case in point, their corn crème brulee. The atmosphere is great and they make the steak sauce right at your table.

Les Halles (

French brasserie style restaurant with two locations in New York. They are apparently known for their steaks but everything else is pretty good. Their bread is baked fresh and their fried potatoes are the perfect balance between crispy and soft. Average around $25 for lunch. It's a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere with delicious French food.

Le Pain Quotidien (

A chain with many locations through out the US and a lot in New York. There is one located in Central Park with outdoor seating that I highly recommend. We went to one for dinner and one for a light midday snack. They have very fresh food and especially fresh breads. (The croissant is really good.) Their style is fresh food made with fresh ingredients, and they put the focus on their daily baked breads. All the menu items have calories listed, which I thought was interesting. Good prices for lots of great fresh food with a slight French influence.

Le Philosophe (

Amazing little French diner in a quiet part of New York with cobble stone streets. Very authentically French (as in French waiters) and great food. Highly recommend their radish from the "Assiettes a Partager". Price hovering above and below $20 for brunch items.

Ninja New York (

Yes it's gimmicky but it's also fun and has pretty good food with generous portions. The prices may look a little high, but once in factor in the size of the portions and consider that it's located in New York, it's actually pretty decent. Their shtick is sudden loud yells, audience participation, fire, dry ice, more fire, and some more dry ice.  Get the Ninja Star Martini for a rubber shuriken to satisfy your inner child and outer adult. (Tastes somewhat of lychee...)

Sushi at Shiro's

In somewhat of a Christmas Miracle, both my cousin and I were in the same town just after New Year's. Seeing that we're both foodies and gluttons, what better way to celebrate both our birthdays, the new year, Christmas and just seeing each other after such a long while.... than to have some delicious food!


First though we spent the day doing some touristy spots in Seattle. We went to the aquarium to see some cute sea critters (before we were due to eat some delicious sea critters later that night).


We ended up all ordering the sushi omakase. It was so much food! First course of white fish, then some delicious matsutake soup in a tea pot and a cold appetizer of grilled salmon belly. Then it was three more pieces of sushi, various cuts of salmon. Then delicious tuna and seared chutoro, and a slightly old fashioned nigiri where the tuna was aged and marinated a bit.

Then it was finished by a large plate of various sushi: anego, uni ikura, amaebi, geoduck, saba, cucumber and  umeboshi roll, and salmon roll. And the most impressive piece on the plate: the tamagoyaki that had the texture of a dense Castella cake. It was sweet, eggy and unbelievably delicious and unlike any tamagoyaki I ever had.


It took some real effort to finish all that food! I was full until well past the next morning. Each piece was super yummy and each piece was just the right size. Even looking at the pictures now I'm starting to drool...

The Seven(ty) Bridges of Venice

My second day in Venice was spent walking around the island, seeing the sights of the city and occasionally poking my head into one of the numerous (free) churches. (It's nice to see the age old tradition of fleecing pilgrims continuing well to this day.) 

I spent most of the day taking slightly random pictures of whatever caught my eye.

Above is the famous gondola manufacturer Tramontin & Figli. The boatyard was found in 1884 and still painstakingly crafts each gondola by hand.

We stopped for a small lunch by a seafood market. Some seagulls were fighting over discarded fish carcass by a drain.

Soon though, it was time to say "adio" to Venice. A parting shot of the buildings perched by the waters edge, and of a collared priest, heralding our arrival in Rome and the approaching Easter festivities.

Once on the train, a quick cold dinner of calamari and sandwiches, topped off with Italian sweets bought from a small shop while wandering the many narrow streets of Venice.

Venice, City of Boats

To start off, everything in Venice is a boat. It shouldn't have surprised me as much - Venice is intrinsically connected with gondolas and canals in my mind - but I never thought out the reasonable conclusion: all transportation is by boats. No land vehicles are allowed into Venice past Piazzale Roma, near the train station.

Other than the bus-boats, gondolas (essentially limo-boats) and taxi-boats ferrying tourists, they had refrigerated delivery-boats, garbage-boats, construction-boats; and of course ambulance-, fire- and police-boats. One particularly amusing moment was seeing a policeman holding a radar gun just behind a corner and a police-boat waiting to turn on it's siren and pull over the offending boat. (Of course there would be speed limits. My logic just apparently fails when it encounters boats.)

My first sight of Venice in the daylight were was from an outdoor seat on the bow of a rather bumpy bus. I don't generally have issues with moving vehicles, but I was about ready to throw up after the first boat ride. The beautiful views of Venice was of some consolation, but it took another two trips on a boat for me to gain my "sea legs".  

First stop was Piazza San Marco. The sky had annoying decided to be bereft of clouds in the space directly behind the angle I was shooting from. We went up the Campanile first. There was no climbing involved as the bell tower had been outfitted with an elevator during it's almost complete reconstruction in the early 1900's after it collapsed.

As with any tower, the top of the Campanile offered wonderful views of Venice from above, the red roofing vibrant in the sunlight.

St. Mark's Basilica had a really long wait and required you to check any large backpacks or other large bags. The cathedral is wonderfully Byzantine and famous for its mosaic lunettes depicting, among others, the story of how the corpse of St. Mark was stolen from Alexandria.

There were no photos allowed inside the church. You can also take the climb to see the four bronze horses.

Next stop was the Venetian Arsenal, and lunch!


Lunch started with a wonderful seafood appetizer with octopus, marinated fish, squid eggs and a delicious fish paste/mousse with milk. Then it was squid ink pasta and vongole.


After that it was back to the boats and off to Burano, or the "colourful island". There were wooden piles sticking a few meters above the water surface that marked out a sort of highway for the boats as we moved out to the open waters.

I found some more wisteria on the way to the famous island of colourful houses. The colours here were vibrant to the point of cacophony.

All that walking eventually made me hungry, so I bought some spumigile (meringue) from a rather adorable little bake shop run by a friendly old man. (I've since come to the conclusion that all the best sweet shops are run by old Italian men.)


It was slightly early by Italian standards for dinner yet, so I was temporarily sated with some fried seafood before stepping back onto the boat.

After some more wandering, the skies clouded over and the wind began to pick up. The night was spend in the hotel room with some prosecco from a corner store and take out seafood risotto from a restaurant nearby, listening to the howling of the wind and the rain pounding against the solid wood shutters.


Il Duomo di Firenze

My second day in Florence started with lining up at the Duomo bright and early. The ticket office was a bit difficult to locate. I was told "number 7 on the wall". I ran around the entire vicinity before I finally found a nondescript small metal 7 beside a door opening into a courtyard. The ticket office was hidden deep inside.

I lined up for climbing the dome first, while I still had some energy. Having climbed both Notre Dame and St. Paul's Cathedral on my last trip to Europe, the Duomo seemed a much quicker climb. (I believe there are a few hundred steps less in the Duomo.) The stairs are very narrow and become quite steep towards the top.

After climbing to the top, you're rewarded with a wonderful view of the red roof tops of Florence.

The cathedral, dome and bell tower are decorated with patterned marble in green and red on the entire façade. The construction of the cathedral spanned 140 years and 9 architects.

A small snack of lampredotto, with two types of salsa from a small cart a few steps from the dome. I tend to maybe overdo it a bit when it comes to local foods when I travel. (On my first visit to London, I ate a hearty breakfast of black pudding, baked beans, tomato, fried bread, mushrooms and sausage every single day.) I think I showed some restraint by only having tripe 3 times during my 2 day stay.


The cathedral is underlain by Roman ruins and an older church. There's an exhibition of some artifacts that were found and sketches of the plan above and beyond. The exhibit let's you walk among some of the excavated ruins and on the mosaic floors from centuries ago.


The floor of the modern cathedral above and the mosaics of the ruins below.


The Baptistery was undergoing renovations so the outside was completely covered in scaffolding. The Baptistery is octagonal and built on the location of a series of older baptistery. The octagon shape is apparently often used for baptisteries as the number 8 is very important in Christian numerology, symbolizing resurrection.

The ceiling of the Baptistery is richly decorated in golden mosaics depicting Biblical scenes, angels, and the last judgement. The full gamut of angelic beings are depicted: dominions, powers,  archangels, regular angels, principalities, virtues and thrones.

The famous bronze doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti have been restored and are now preserved in the nearby Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, behind glass in a dehumidified environment. The doors on the Baptistery are a replica. 


For lunch, there are plenty of choices in the streets radiating from the Duomo.

Pappa al Pomodoro (Florentine tomato soup)

Pappa al Pomodoro (Florentine tomato soup)

Pappardelle al Cinghiale (pasta with wild boar)

Pappardelle al Cinghiale (pasta with wild boar)

Tagliatelle ai Porcini (pasta with wild porcini mushrooms)

Tagliatelle ai Porcini (pasta with wild porcini mushrooms)

Sadly my time in Florence drew to a close and I boarded the train for Venice. The first thing I did in Venice was eat more food. I was especially looking forward to squid ink risotto.

Seafood spaghetti

Seafood spaghetti

Squid ink risotto

Squid ink risotto

Grilled fish of some sort and scampi

Grilled fish of some sort and scampi

We stayed in a lovely hotel, that I will introduce more in my next posts on Venice.